Today’s Interactive Kiosks Deliver the Goods with Automation
April 24, 2023
Next-gen intelligent kiosks leverage industrial edge computing and AMD Ryzen™ for I/O and thermal advancements.
The modern-day kiosk is a technologically advanced platform, offering value and convenience while minimizing costs and errors associated with person-to-person transactions. Consumers can send and receive information, shop online, and even walk away with purchased goods. Yet to deliver on this promise, kiosk system providers must combine robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and rugged edge computing to dispense a variety of products and services – with little or no human interaction.
Innovation is Key
The challenge is nicely illustrated by one prominent key-making vendor, busy growing its business and developing an ever-evolving feature set (Figure 1). To deliver increasingly advanced performance, its newest kiosks would require a considerable amount of system upgrades. The standard computer boards in use were incompatible with the unit’s more compact space, taking up room that could otherwise be leveraged to increase the kiosk’s computing power. Additionally, the commercial parts used were difficult to supply and maintain, increasing costs and requiring human involvement. To achieve the necessary upgrades, the embedded system would need to be outfitted with the newest technology, backward compatible with previous technologies, and compact enough to optimize the space.
Figure 1: Today's kiosks combine pleasant aesthetics and intuitiveness with touchscreens and apps to give consumers an easy-to-use option largely free of human interaction.
An industrial-grade computing system was essential. Even more critically, the system would need to incorporate the latest technology and accommodate a more compact design – two characteristics that seldom align. Any modernization plan would also necessitate a drop-in replacement board compatible with the previous generation kiosk to extend the usefulness of existing units. And, just as significantly, any new hardware solution must be minimally impacted by current global supply chain issues. A commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) 3.5-inch industrial-grade single-board computer (SBC) was selected to meet these modernization goals. Compact enough to fit into tight spaces while hosting feature-rich I/O ports and expansion slots, this SBC is optimized for space-constrained kiosk applications that require powerful computing in a small footprint.
AMD Embedded Advancements
These advancements tap into the recently introduced AMD Ryzen™ Embedded Series processor, the V1605B. AMD embedded system-on-chip (SoC) processors offer low thermal design power (TDP; as low as 6W and as high as 54W) and ultra-performance on a single-chip solution. Through AMD’s “Vega” integrated graphics architecture, Ryzen™ supports multiple UHD 4K displays for more graphic-driven performance without compromising power and costs. These SoCs also deliver a long embedded lifespan, lasting up to 10 years without the need for replacement. Additionally, AMD SoCs offer dual-channel and ECC memory, doubling the bandwidth and speed for faster data exchange and protection from memory failure and corruption in critical applications. AMD embedded chips also leverage the AMD secure processor (ASP) to ensure maximum security by encrypting data before feeding it to any I/O component.
In the key-making kiosk example, the newly deployed SBC (Figure 2) offers a unique 50-pin high-speed connector (PCIe x4) that can be used to customize additional high-speed I/O. The connector supported the design of a custom USB-specific daughterboard – instead of the customary USB hub that would have required unavailable space in a kiosk enclosure. This daughterboard offers 14 USB 3.0 ports with software-based remote power management capabilities onboard to consolidate several separate electronic devices (including multiple cameras) into a single compute assembly. Designed as a complete solution (containing compute, memory, storage, and extensive I/O), the embedded SBC fit into an easily accessible electronics panel, reducing overall kiosk equipment costs and eliminating the need to re-design the kiosk enclosure. The connector allowed the kiosk to be upgraded with a signature USB-specific daughterboard custom designed with over a dozen ports fit with remote power management. The connector and the USB daughterboard facilitated the integration of several devices into one unified assembly which is now deployed for mass production scale.
Figure 2: AMD’s advancements on the embedded front inspired Premio to develop its first-ever x86 single board computer (SBC) on AMD’s architecture. This integrated solution offers multi-core performance and rich visual graphics from AMD’s semiconductor design. SBCs provide the perfect building blocks for embedded applications like kiosks that require significant compute power within a constrained space.
Embedding Solutions, Driving Performance
Industrial edge computing benefits from a high-performing, single-chip solution. The solution is supported by low-thermal power design and integrated graphics architecture, which is optimized for the kiosk’s compact interior and upgraded UHD 4K display. Additionally, the embedded Ryzen™ processor offers twice the speed and bandwidth of the previous processor thanks to AMD’s powerful x86 Zen cores and 64-bit dual channel DDR4 memory with ECC support. This safeguards essential applications from memory failure and promotes faster data exchanges. Before sending information to an I/O component, AMD embedded chips utilize the AMD secure processor to encrypt any data, ensuring the experience the kiosk offers is both enjoyable and safe for the visitor. Using the same architecture, the industrial-grade edge computer’s SBC can provide multi-core performance and rich visual graphics, furthering the computing power within the kiosk’s constrained space.
Meeting New Verticals – Automated Kiosks
Modern kiosks can offer heightened computing power thanks to a new technologically enhanced and optimized design. The embedded solutions implemented within the kiosk’s condensed interior offer considerably greater computing power at a fraction of the cost of past generations. Robust functionality, upgraded displays, and embedded platforms built to last have made the modern kiosk an optimal platform for visitors to obtain information and goods, and for companies to expand their presence.
As the digital kiosk becomes more prevalent, more diverse industries will want to implement them into their business strategies. Industries from casino gaming, digital signage, medical imaging, quick-service restaurants, and industrial automation and controls can all benefit from digital kiosks powered by the AMD Embedded Ryzen™ processor. With so many market verticals able to capitalize on the digital kiosks and more kiosks deployed at scale, the embedded systems that power the platform will have the opportunity for exponential growth moving forward.
Intelligent kiosks must often be small and light, and display increasingly smarter functionality for a remarkable customer user experience. Embedded processors capable of this level of enhancement are driving innovation across multiple markets as diverse industries realize the opportunity for growth generated by intelligent kiosks – particularly when paired with the industrial-grade edge systems inherently designed for longevity and performance. These kiosks can efficiently serve many consumers when placed in public, high-traffic areas and generate recognition for brands that license their usage.